Thursday, August 20, 2015

Turkish Mauser Bayonets, Model 1935 M-35

Today we are continuing along with our Turkish Mauser thread.  I have two very similar, yet very different, Turkish Mauser bayonets to show today.

Each of these bayonets are currently paired with one of my Turkish Mausers.  They are both "Model 1935" bayonets that were made by Turkey for their "Model 1938" Mausers.  The "Model 1938" Mausers cover all of the " Turkified" (converted and rebuilt), Model 1883, 1903, and later Mausers that were rebuilt to the "1938 standard".  This basically means that they will fit virtually any of the standard Turkish Mausers in use until the 1970's.

In the mid-1930's, Turkey started a program of rebuilding and converting all of their existing rifles to fire the new 8mm rifle round, and at the same time they standardized all of the Mausers to one standard Turkish configuration.  This configuration is known today as the "Model 1938". This model name was assigned by the US firearms companies that began importing the surplus Turkish Mausers starting in the 1970's.  "Model 1938" was never an actual Turkish designation.
Along with standardizing the rifles, Turkey also came up with a "standard bayonet".  This is known as the "Model 1935" Turkish Bayonet.

The "Model 1935" bayonets are anything but standard.  They all have very common features and dimensions, but they are definitely not all the same.  The Turks converted their existing stocks of their old 1890 and 1903 long bayonets, along with other captured foreign bayonets, and foreign purchased bayonets (often surplus) from countries like Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Germany, England, Australia, many from the WW1 era............. The old bayonets were chopped, the parts often mixed and matched, the blades reground, the scabbards cut, chopped, modified.  After all of this, each bayonet resembled the two bayonets that I am showing today, more or less, often less.

Along with the converted bayonets, they began building their own version of the Model 1935 bayonet in their military arsenals.   Out of all of this converting and constructing, the Model 1935 bayonet was born.  But even the Turkish made Model 1935 bayonets had wild variations in construction and component details.  Basically, every Turkish bayonet is unique, providing nearly endless variety for the collector.

Both of bayonets are marked ASFA, which means "Askari Fabrika", or military arsenal/factory in Turkish.  The ASFA arsenal was started in 1929, so any bayonets that do not have this marking are pre-1929.  After 1929, all bayonets were stamped with ASFA.  Along with the ASFA stamp, both bayonets are serial number marked.  There was not a standard location for the ASFA and serial number stamps and both of my bayonets have them in different locations.

Both of my bayonets show "brass fill" in the area of the pommel and the tang.  It appears that the parts did not fit consistently or evenly and when the bayonets were assembled, any gaps were just filled by brazing,

Some bayonets had screws holding on the wooden grips and some had rivets.  

There are wild variations in the scabbards, and scabbard studs, found on the Model 1935 bayonets.  Many scabbards were made new for these bayonets, and many were converted from old scabbards that were much too long and made for older styles of bayonets.  The old scabbards were chopped cut, welded, etc. to fit the new pattern blades.  These conversions are usually quite crude looking.  The standard Turkish scabbard stud was the "single button" type that appears on the rougher of my two bayonets.  The bright black scabbard on my second bayonet, is a replacement scabbard, of the German type, that has been re-stamped with the matching bayonet serial number and is not original to the bayonet.

The roughest of my two bayonets is by far the "Classic Turkish" style bayonet.  It is "hammered", rough, heavily worn, showing signs of heavy abuse.  In fact, my bayonet is actually slightly bent in a slight curve, as if someone made a bayonet charge against a rock wall!  The hilt has signs of extended pounding, as if it had been used as a hammer for many years.  The "A" on the ASFA stamping has worn completely off.  The wooden grips have worn down to the point that the securing rivets are now well above the surface of the wood instead of being recessed!  The scabbard is heavily worn, cracked and has an extremely loose stud.  Inside the scabbard throat, you can see a deep groove that has been worn into the metal by having blade drawn across it thousands of times through the years.  The cross guard is very loose.  In short, this is a "typical Turkish bayonet"!

With all of that said, let's take a look at these two bayonets.  Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Turkish Mauser Ammo Pouch, Three Compartment Leather

I am finishing up some research and documentation on a couple of Turkish Mausers that I have in my collection so that I can get the photos and information posted here on the blog.  Until then, I thought that I ought to start with a  few postings on some the of the accessories that go along with the Turkish Mausers.  So with that in mind, here is the first in that series.

Here is a very "Turkish", ammo pouch.  I say " Very Turkish"" because of the condition.................

One of the first things that you will notice about just about any piece of vintage Turkish firearm equipment, is that they are "hammered"!
The Turkish Army was manned by conscripted soldiers, who apparently were not thrilled with being in the service and took out that frustration on their equipment (this is just speculation, of course).

The Turks were the ultimate recyclers of military surplus.  They obtained rifles, bayonets, pouches, and other assorted gear, from just about any country they could, and then "Turkified" them.  They would modify, disassemble and then mix and match parts, issue and reissue, and then do that again and again.  Once an item was put into service, it was in continuous service until it was surplussed.  For most of the firearms, bayonets and ammo pouches, that meant that they could have been (and often were), put into service back in the early 1900's through the 1940's, and then used continuously.  The equipment was used, abused, bent, broken, repaired, rebuilt, re-invented, for years, until most of the "old gear" was taken out of service and surplussed in the 1970's.

This vintage Turkish ammo pouch is no exception.  This pouch is undated, so there is no way to say for certain what its true age is, but I would estimate it to be from the WW1 era.  The Germans supplied literally tons of weapons and equipment to the Turks during the WW1 era.  The "German Style", three compartment, leather, ammo pouches were the standard Turkish Mauser issue pouches all the way through to the 1970's.  Nearly all of the pouches are unmarked, or have old Imperial German markings on the back.

This ammo pouch has several soldiers names or initials scratched and written on the back.  From the look of them, I am sure they go back many years!  It is fairly common to find old Turkish gear that has had names or initials scratched and written by their original soldier-owners.  It is these personal touches that really appeal to me. 

I will do some very minimal restoration-repairs, to the stitching, using original style thread, and possibly construct a replacement Y-strap D-ring tab for the back, but other than that, the pouch will remain as it is. 
When I do restoration-repairs like this, I look for old, used, leather that has been worn and aged so that it matches the piece that it will be paired with.  After stitching, I "age" the thread with dirt and grime to match the rest of the original stitching.  Stay tuned for a restoration update in a later blog posting!

I will let the pouch speak for itself.  Here is the album of photos.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Swiss Shovel Covers, WW2 Vintage, Rare Metal Type, Schweizer Klappspaten: Entrenching Tool - Spade, Shovel, E-Tool

As promised after my last blog posting on my vintage Swiss entrenching tool, here is the follow-up presenting the new shovel covers.

First off, I would like to thank my mother who retrieved these beauties from a California surplus warehouse, and then transported them all the way up to Washington!  They were the last four covers in the place.

After a quick clean-up and inspection, I selected one for my shovel.  The cover is in amazing condition for its age and looks like it was gently used (the other three are quite a bit more "weathered").  Not bad for a 75 year old piece of field gear that ended its career in a dark and dusty warehouse in the USA.

 There is not much that is known for sure about these metal, Swiss, shovel covers other than that they were produced and used during WW2.  All of these covers seem to have been dated in 1943 and 1944, and were made by various Swiss manufacturers.  The covers that I have are dated 1943 and 1944, by two manufacturers.

In about 1943, Switzerland started feeling the pinch of being isolated in regards to raw materials.  I believe that leather was becoming more scarce, as well as aluminum, and other raw materials in demand by the other countries who were deep in the middle of war.  This would explain why the traditional leather shovel covers were changed to the metal type.

Interestingly, the metal covers are nearly identical to the all leather covers.  The straps, belt hangers, and fastening system is the same.  The large piece of leather that covers the blade, and the "strap" that goes across the back, were substituted with stamped sheet steel.  The leather straps that had been used on the all leather version were merely riveted on to the metal version.  
Two blued spring tensioners are riveted on each side of the metal backing to keep the blade from rattling when it is in the cover.

After the war ended, production ceased on these metal covers and Switzerland went back to the traditional, all leather versions.  
I have been unable to locate any clear photos that show these covers in use, however, based on the wear to the leather and metal on my covers, it is certain that they saw quite a bit of field use.

These shovel covers fit the shovel perfectly, and I now have one "permanently installed" on my shovel.  I am quite surprised that the design was not carried over into the Cold War years.

To finish things up, here are some close-up shots of the covers:

There are two holes on the metal backing plate.  These are "access holes" to allow the riveting of the leather to the metal cross piece on the other side of the cover.